“Shoulder Season” Is Officially In Effect

Look, Fall is nice and all, but I think we’re all mourning the end of Summer at least a little bit. Maybe it’s because we know Winter is right around the corner. But one thing many people ignore or at least forget about is… shoulder season! What’s shoulder season, you ask? Well, it’s that beautiful time every year where travel is cheap and the crowds are light. So basically… you have some extra shoulder room!

It’s really one of the best times of year to travel. Airlines and hotels will drop their prices to make sure they still are bringing in money. And many of the more popular tourist destinations see their lowest tourist population of the year. Here are some easy ways that you can take advantage of this sneakily travel-friendly season.

BUY THE CHEAPEST FLIGHTS YOU’LL EVER BUY

Many travel experts have studied the trends, and the commonly accepted theory is that flights are so cheap this time of year because peak travel season has just ended as kids return to school and people start going into hiding so they can financially survive the holidays. Because of this, many airlines will lower their costs, sometimes dramatically, just to ensure their planes are full until travel picks up again around Christmas.

So, for example, you could get a roundtrip flight to Portland, Oregon for $300, one to Philadelphia for $350, or one to the quickly-growing-in-popularity Medellin, Columbia for $500. You’re not going to find better deals than that! Take advantage, people.

SPECIAL OFFERS AND HOTEL PACKAGES

For the same reasons airlines drop their prices to make sure their planes are full, many hotels and resorts will offer crazy packages and special offers to make sure as many of their rooms as possible are full of travelers. Beyond just the lowest rates of the year, this can include anything from free drinks, free spa services, and even free day excursions. Free stuff?! On vacation no less?! Where do I sign?

RENTALS BY OWNER ARE NO EXCEPTION

If you love to travel but prefer renting your accommodations through Air BnB or VRBO, then you’re in luck. Because they follow suit when it comes to shoulder season and often lower their rates as well. The same logic applies: they’d rather have someone renting out their place for a low rate than no one renting out their place at all. October is definitely the best month to find the lowest rates, but September can see them as well.

PUT IN A LITTLE WORK TO MAXIMIZE YOUR SAVINGS

While all these deals are out there and you can find some of them fairly easily, it’s still worth it to do some research, get creative, and maximize your savings by finding the best possible deals on anything and everything. Because despite how many places consider the Fall their slow season, there are still places out there that don’t see much of a dip during the Fall. So don’t assume you’re getting a deal on a hotel room just because you’re booking for October. Use multiple sources, compare prices, and be patient!